This past year has been exciting for smartphones, as usual. From the newest breed of iPhones to Google's delightful Pixel, there were a lot of shocks and upsets from our technological friends. Now that the season has come to an end, let's take a look at some of the top phones and what they brought to show-and-tell.
Apple's newest addition to their line of trendy phones shook the tables of high schoolers around the world with its hefty and unprecedented starting price tag of $1379 CAD. Yet the price is arguably warranted, for the XS is easily one of the flashiest phones of all time, garnering a near perfect score across the board of snooty phone reviewers across the internet. Its features include a blazing A12 Bionic chip that provides a super-speedy experience, not to mention its dual camera and slightly better battery than its predecessor (although that's not saying much... expect to recharge throughout the day if you're a heavy user).
The camera also comes with some built-in software like an improved HDR function that enhances your photos automatically. Face ID is much more responsive and so is the phone's water resistance—its IP68 rating means that it can safely be submerged in up to 6 feet of water for half an hour. In fact, there's even a video on Youtube where someone dips it into 40 feet of muddy lake water! Needless to say, the XS is among the top phones ever made if not the definitive best.
The iPhone XR is a cheaper alternative to the XS, but that doesn't mean it's a cheap knockoff of the XS. Quite the contrary, as it rivals the former in performance and features. For starters, its got the same A12 Bionic chip, meaning performance will be near identical. It comes in a glass body with an aluminum frame and a 6.1" Liquid Retina LED instead of OLED, so there's a lower resolution (not that you'd be able to tell, honestly). The iPhone XR also only has a singular rear camera instead of the XS' two, yet this 12 MP camera is one of the same cameras that the XS boasts, in addition to retaining all of its built-in software. It also has a slightly longer battery life thanks to the absence of other things like 3D touch support, and comes in a plethora of colors ranging from coral to yellow and baby blue. How vibrant!
An IP67 rating means that you can submerge your iPhone XR into 3 feet of water for 30 minutes, so feel free to bring it into your showers in case you forget those lyrics to that one Dua Lipa song. You can expect to The XR is a great alternative to the XS and on its own, is a fully capable standalone phone that can pack a wallop against other competitors.
Google's break-in to the phone industry has been swept beneath the other titans throughout its previous two iterations, yet its latest phone brings a little more to the table. The Google Pixel 3 retails at $999 CAD for its 5.5" model and comes in a glass body enclosing a metal chasis. It also runs on Android 9.0 Pie, the newest operating system for Android limited to only a handful of devices, and one that is quick and fluid.
Yet its most impressive feature is what Google dubs, the "AI Cam," a camera that automatically enhances your photos with usage of HDR and other software tricks, taking three photos for every click that you make and processing the best one. This is made possible through its 12 MP rear camera, and dual 8 MP front cameras which make your selfies delightfully splendid. Unfortunately, the phone itself seems to suffer from poor battery life, often requiring a charge throughout the day during periods of high usage—so keep that battery pack handy.
Huawei's Mate 20 Pro is a substantial upgrade to the P20 and P20 Pro released earlier this year, with a 6.39" OLED screen that boasts some of the highest resolution available. Its 1,400 x 3,120 resolution comes with 538 ppi so expect only the sharpest frames on your favorite Netflix series. Like the Google Pixel 3, it runs on Android 9.0 Pie and comes loaded with 128 GB of storage space and a generous 6 GB of RAM.
Its competitive triple-camera system clocks in with three rear sharpshooters starting at a whopping 40 MP, next to a 20 MP and 8 MP camera. On the other side of the grass is a 24 MP front-facing camera that'll highlight all of your glamorous selfies—or blemishes. The Mate 20 Pro's cameras impress further through its vibrant contrast and smart stabilisation, providing you with a range of other modes from Portrait to Monochrome and even Night. At the end of the day, Huawei's in-depth camera still proves a force against some of the toughest competitors on the market.
It's been a long wait for Samsung's next series of flagship phones, but the Galaxy Note 9 fills that void for those of you who are avid pen-users. This large phone has a 6.4" screen and like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, comes with a smartpen, dubbed the "S Pen," that lets you sketch ideas, take notes, or even use it as a remote control for your apps and games. Its Bluetooth functionality allows for you to improvise and use it for things like presentations or taking photos—that's right, no more asking strangers to take those family portraits for you at the park.
The camera comes with Samsung's in-house software, dubbed the "AI Cam," that automatically adjusts your photos and spits them out in HDR with lighting and contrast improvements. The phone also comes in 128 GB or 512 GB, so you'll have tons of storage on the go. Combined with its large size, this device is perfect for the multi-tasker who desires to get more usage out of their phone than simply calling, texting and browsing the Internet.
And that concludes our top 5 of 2018, but bear in mind there are plenty of other phones that barely missed the cut. Keep your options open, especially if you're on a budget! Phones from previous generations will often fit your bill in terms of quality and price. More importantly, stay alert and up-to-date with the latest scoop on technology; there's a ton of new phones to be released in 2019!